It's been a couple hundred days since there was last a football game involving Northwestern. That's all about to change, I think, so, time to do some predictin... AFTER THE JUMP! (Yeah, I've decided to get rid of even the pretense that there are interesting things before the jump.)
When we got the ball: I'm curious to see this offense, because I genuinely have no idea. I'm not sure if Dan Persa is a good quarterback. I'm not sure who our running back is. I don't know our wide receiver's tendencies. Last year's opener, I urged Northwestern to keep everything close to the vest. Well, this week, we're playing a little bit of a tougher opponent, and my viewpoint is the complete opposite. Last year NU cupcaked it's way to two bland victories, then started to use their actual offense week 3. They lost that game and would look shaky offensively for a few more. If NU has an offensive gameplan, I don't know what it is. But I'd like to see it tomorrow instead of playing coy. I hope it features Kafka-esque passing from Dan Persa, and maybe a little bit more legging than Kafka did last year. Vandy has a passable defense - let's show that we have a passable offense.
Semi-under the radar player to watch: Sidney Stewart. I'd like to see Sid develop into a deep threat. Deep threats score in early season games. He's also essentially our lone skill position senior. It's his year, and it starts tomorrow.
When they got the ball: Vanderbilt's offense is absolutely rough. Not much of a passing game, and a deeply injured running game. NU, on the other hand, will have a solid defense despite a paucity - A PAUCITY! - of returning starters. This does not bode well for the Commodores - if they don't have Warren Norman on the field tomorrow, I don't see them scoring more than twice.
Semi-under the radar player to watch: Justan Vaughn. Teams will try to pick on him, since Jordan Mabin is a semi-known entity. Vanderbilt, with little to nothing going on passing-wise and no star wide receiver, will probably favor his side. It won't end as well as they think. He's my sleeper for the year, actually.
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: A wildcat is a small, feral cat. A commodore commands multiple naval units. This includes battleships, planes, and probably a few navy SEALS. Now, if you're saying, "what would happen if you locked a commodore in a room with a feral cat", well, I'd be given pause. But in reality, the commodore will always have his backup to call upon. And even if he was locked in that room, he might be able to do some damage with the cane I presume old-timey commodores always carry everywhere. Game, Vanderbilt.
Predicton I made in May, as well as the three-word-or-less summary of the game: NU victory. "NERRRRRRRRRDS!!!"
Prediction I'm making now:
Northwestern, 23, Vanderbilt, 10.
Vanderbilt has no offense. None. None. It sucks. We have a defense. This shouldn't be a game. However, I'm not confident in Northwestern's cast of people nobody's ever heard of to gel immediately. I'm not saying they never will be good, I'm just saying not tomorrow. This game should be a W for NU, but it won't be as satisfying of one as it should be.
Thanks - let's hear how you feel in the comments. Bring it tomorrow for the game thread. I'll be tweeting my way to Vanderbilt, so, let's do this.